While thinking about today’s prompt of “fast & loose,” I realized that if it’s in reference to the painting approach itself, the subject matter could be anything at all. Yet, I still opted for a bit of fast food in what’s really just my typically loose style. In truth, everything I paint is fast, since I’m normally squeezing in a quick little sketch right after work and just before dinner. No matter how quickly I sketch, nothing ends up quite as loose, since I like things to have a bit more dimension, so I default to my go-to approach of “jabbing bits of dark in key places.” Though this barely feels like a legitimate painting technique, it does add a bit more sparkle and depth when you’re short on time, which I typically am, and turns a loose sketch into one that gives the illusion one has spent a bit more time on it. As for fast food, this is a total fantasy as it’s not really on Philippe’s list of acceptable digestives. When I do get home from work and begin my quick little sketch for the day, I’m always asked the same question, “what did you have for lunch today?” This seems like a perfectly innocuous nicety, but there’s far more to it than that. What it really means is, “what insanely healthy dish do I have to make for dinner tonight to atone for your lunch transgressions?” It’s a question I must always choose to answer carefully.
Actually, I’m typically a rather good boy at lunch time. Only having a salad or something equally passable by Philippe’s standards. But other times, I do make rather rash and suspect decisions, and might end up with a basket full of tater tots. While I always let my inner child take over when I paint, it’s probably not always in my best interest to let him order food. He has a very limited diet that consists of mostly golden fried things. I grew up in a time where fast food was not something bad for you, it was simply glorious food served quickly. It would be years later before nutritional studies and lawsuits would tell me otherwise. I would just be thrilled to head to the Golden Arches and enjoy a Happy Meal, complete with an incredible prize inside. And my mother would be just as thrilled she didn’t have to deal with cooking me anything. It’s was a total win-win really. Thankfully, we didn’t eat out that way all that often, but this just made it seem even more incredible. And since that time, I’ve developed a theory that as long as treats come in moderation, they’re not only okay, but rather necessary to live a happy life.
So, yes, sometimes, I even let my inner child choose what’s on the menu that day. I know my adult, or at the very least least my adult handler Philippe, will help me keep things in check. But life shouldn’t be about denying ourselves little pleasures, it should be about finding the best time to enjoy them properly. Whether it’s eating or painting, so much of it can come with stringent rules of what is right or what is wrong. That can feel so overwhelming! And we’re such different and unique individuals that I find it impossible to believe there’s ever truly one correct way to DO anything. When you find a path in art or life that feels strangely familiar to you personally, follow it and see where it goes. It might not be the path that others are telling you that you should take, but your heart always knows better. Trust it. Learn everything you can from the people who inspire you and then take a bold step on your own journey. Don’t let anything stop you from pursuing what you know you really love most. Trust me, what you’re thinking you should do, is correct. And life is never really that straightforward in the end. Life is a beautiful mix of creative impulses that can only be truly enjoyed and appreciated when you approach it fast & loose.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Leaf Green, Quinacridone Red, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!